Generic words may he added to numerals as in most Tibeto-Burman languages.
They are yery numerous in all the Tai forms of speech, frankfurter, in his Siamese
Grammar, gives a list of about thirty. Needham, in his Khamti Grammar, gives a list
of about twelve common ones. Gushing, in his Shan Grammar, gives a list of forty-five*
and specially says that it is not complete.
These indicate the quality of the noun which is counted. Thus, one word is used
when human heings are counted, another when animals are counted, another when flat
things, another when round things, and so on. The word 'piecee' in Pigeon English, as
in * one piecee man' for s one man1, and the word * head', when we talk of ' sis head of
cattle', are something like generic words.
Owing to the scanty materials available, only a few examples can "be given of their
use in Ahom:
Mn, a person, is used in counting human heings, as kunpM lung, person male one,
one man; Mn ml lung, person female one, one woman; Ink-man sMng Mn
son two persons, two sons.
ttit a body, used in counting animals, as in tu sMng-shau mu, body two-twenty
$ig;Qimu8hdng-shau tu3 pig two-twenty body, both meaning twenty-two pigs,
From the above, the rale appears to be that if ' one' is the numeral, the generic
word precedes it, In other cases, either the generic word precedes and the thing counted
follows the numeral, or vice versa.
In Khamti, when no generic word is used, the numeral precedes the noun, When one is used the
numeral follows the noun. Thus, sham lihun, three nights, but Jiun la-lang, house five-habitations, five houses.
In Shaa, the rule regarding ' one' is the same as in Ahom. In other cases, the thing counted precedes, and
the geiienc word follows, the numeral Thus mafe-cMfe M-hun, orange five-round-things, five oranges.
Pronouns,—The Personal Pmwwwliave different forms for the singular and for the
plural. In other respects they are treated exactly like nouns substantive. They are as
follows. I give the Khamti, Shan, and Siamese forms for the sake of comparison:—
Xhamtj and Shan.
he, she, it
fcftflw or m&n'Tthau
A/vaM or man-X;7;oM
In the above, the suffix mai forms a genitive absolute, as in Jcm-mti, mine.
A dependent genitive sometimes precedes and sometimes follows the governing
noun. It follows in—
po to, my father.
Ink-man mm (also mm tuft-man), thy son.
mng mail, thy younger brother,
j)0 matit thy father.